Hot-rod bagger – three little words that one does not expect to see together in the same sentence, let alone see together in a stock bike. Folks, this ain’t your grandpappy’s tour bike, not by a long shot! Built to impress, the CVO Street Glide from Harley-Davidson combines the ride and look of a traditional tour bike – sans "Tour-Pak" – with the testicular fortitude of a modified custom.

In spite of the lofty price of $36,799, this bike is very popular, and if I had a dollar for every one that I have seen just in my own local area on a daily basis, I could go buy a 12-pack and take the rest of the day off. I have noticed that this bike – and its non-CVO cousin – is very popular with some of the local bike clubs, which is a testament to its appeal and capabilities. These guys put some serious miles and state lines behind them, and expect their bikes to look tough while they do it, so if it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for anyone.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide.

  • 2015 - 2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
  • Year:
    2015- 2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™
  • Displacement:
    109.9 cubic inches
  • Price:
    36799

Design

2015 - 2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 672692

The factory referenced its own history for the design, borrowing from the traditional looks of its previous FLT models, so the bike doesn’t look like the single ginger in the family photo. The differences are subtle: redesigned fairing, sleeker bags without compromising capacity, and a deeply scalloped saddle are just a few of the Project Rushmore-inspired details.

A low-profile windshield and the lack of a "Tour-Pak" cleans up the top lines of the bike very nicely. Obviously this will be affected somewhat if you add a passenger backrest to keep the ol’ lady on the bike – advisable, given the unprecedented throttle response – or the decidedly uncool-looking rider backrest to keep your own butt in the seat.

Customers are demanding more in the way of sound systems and entertainment, and this bike could almost be considered an entertainment device with a bike wrapped around it – almost. The Boom! Stage II audio system features four 6x5-inch woven carbon-fiber-cone woofers, four 1.5-inch mid-range polypropylene-fiber dome speakers, four one-inch aluminum dome tweeters, and a collective 600 watts of amplifiers between the front and rear speakers. Between the engine note and the stereo, I dare a cager to not hear you coming.

Don’t think for a second that vanity and entertainment were the only design considerations, because comfort and safety were not neglected. The heated handgrips and ergonomic hand controls will ease your burden on long/cold trips, and the LED lighting improves your visibility forward, and others’ visibility of you from the rear. One-touch latches on the bags and fuel door provide convenience, and the carryout bag liners make loading and unloading a breeze.

Chassis

2015 - 2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 672686

Big wheels are in-vogue right now, and Harley gives the public what it wants with the 19- and 18-inch front and rear rims, respectively. Brand new, five-spoke Mirror Chrome Aggressor wheels mount the rubbers in style while presenting minimal windage to crosswinds.

Four-piston Brembo disc brakes, controlled by the Reflex brake system with ABS, provide ample stopping power for the not-inconsiderable bulk of the bike, and allow you to control the bike with confidence, regardless of your level of skill and experience. Supporting the bike are great big 49 mm front forks, and the dial-in adjustable rear shocks allow you to compensate for variations in load and riding conditions with ease.

Drivetrain

2015 - 2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide Exterior
- image 611310

Now we get to the beating heart of any bike: the engine. Harley mounted the biggest – and baddest – stock engine that they have ever produced: the Twin-Cooled Twin-Cam 110-cubic-inch engine. A healthy 115 pound-feet of torque provides plenty of get-up-and-go when you grab a fistful of throttle, and the Twin-Cool technology ensures that it runs cool, even under harsh driving conditions.

Personally, I am still not 100 percent sold on the localized liquid-cooling in the heads, and I am waiting for the horror stories to start concerning damage caused by loss of coolant containment. Until that actually happens though, I have to give the factory props for this cutting-edge technology, and the benefits thereof.

Price

2015 - 2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 672665

With a price tag of $36,349, the 2015 ride reaches toward the top end of the spectrum, to be sure. The good news is, all the bells and whistles are included in that price. The paint schemes are new and unique to this model, and with four of them to choose from, you will avoid looking like you are on a run-of-the-mill bike. Personally, I have always liked flames and the tribal-looking flames are edgy and dead sexy.

Add to that the exclusivity afforded by the limited-run nature of the CVO bikes, and it becomes easier to swallow that pill. But let’s be honest, if you are on a beer budget you should not be looking in the champagne aisle. Just do yourself a favor and don’t lie on the $5,000 mattress. If you do and fall in love with it, you have only yourself to blame when you can’t afford it.

The 2016 models come with a handful of new features. A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) keeps an eye on your road-rubber status, and 90-degree valve stems make it easier to adjust the pressure when it become necessary. Contrast Chrome Aggressor wheels mount the hoops, and the Splitstream vents got brushed up with the monochrome treatment.

LED turn signals, an integrated key fob handles the power lock and anti-theft feature and a low-profile primary housing and clutch cover rounds out the improvements. All of this drives the ’16 price up to $36,799, not a huge jump, but I reckon any additional cost is significant once you get past the $30k mark.

Competitor

2016 - 2017 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing F6B
- image 672002
2015 - 2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
- image 672916

Harley’s CVO bikes boast the best The Motor Company has to offer, and while there is no shortage of big power-cruiser/boulevard-bruiser rides out there, it would only be fair to compare apples-to-apples, and champagne-to-champagne. With that caveat in mind, I want to trot out a variation on Honda’s flagship tour bike, the widely recognized Honda Gold Wing in the F6B cruiser configuration. Okay so, they don’t look very much alike, true enough, but they are very much two sides of the same coin: fairings and hardbags, with a truncated windshield and no trunk or “Tour-Pak” to clutter up the rear end, and maybe just a tiny bit sinister.

Honda runs its six-cylinder, 1,832 cc boxer engine to push the F6B, just a handful of cubes larger than the 1,802 cc, Twin-Cooled Twin-Cam 110 V-Twin. If good looks were enough, the chromed mill in the Street Glide would carry the day, but strictly looking at performance, the Honda lump shows a slight advantage. Tests from a number of reliable sources show right around 125 pound-feet of torque from the F6B engine, 10 whole pounds more than the Harley, not enough to really matter very much, but worth mention all the same.

Comfort and entertainment features are comparable between the two, and frankly too numerous to labor at this point, so let’s just say they are close enough for government work and all the bases are covered. Against this backdrop, the difference in price is shocking. MSRP on a 2016 F6B just breaks 20 k at $20,499, while H-D wants nearly twice that for the CVO Street Glide at $36,799. Sure you get some great looking paint, and a rolling showpiece right off the floor, but that’s a lot of cheddar to cough up. I can’t help but think one day Harley is going to price itself right out of the dominant spot in the U.S. market, and if they aren’t careful, it’s likely to happen sooner rather than later.

He Said:

“I definitely like this bike. The top-notch features and looks are nice, and the H-D pedigree is undeniable, but with a price tag that could buy a small cottage in the country it had better have every bell and whistle imaginable!”

She Said:

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "As always, I am so excited about the Project Rushmore innovations and improvements. When I look at a bike, the first thing I look at is if I could ride it or if I’m going to be the passenger. With the 27-inch-plus seat height it’s in my range, but with the center of gravity not so low, I’d be concerned about low-speed wrestling matches. Looking at it as a passenger, though, no "Tour-Pak" and lack of a passenger backrest combined with the awesome throttle response means that baby could drive right out from under me, which is a bit scary, especially on a touring bike. Adding those accessories as options would just kill the clean top line, so I’ll have to take a pass on this limited-edition gem. For someone tall enough to handle the height and weight though, it’s a beautiful baby and worthy of the CVO name."

Specs

Engine: Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™
Bore: 4 inches
Stroke: 4.375 inches
Displacement: 109.9 cubic inches
Compression Ratio: 9.2 to 1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Engine Torque Testing Method: J1349
Engine Torque: 115.1 pound-feet
Engine Torque (Rpm): 3,750
Lean Angle, Right (Deg.): 32
Lean Angle, Left (Deg.): 31
Fuel Economy: Combined City/Hwy: 41 Mpg
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 Ratio
Gear Ratios (Overall) 1st: 9.593
Gear Ratios (Overall) 2nd: 6.65
Gear Ratios (Overall) 3rd: 4.938
Gear Ratios (Overall) 4th: 4.0
Gear Ratios (Overall) 5th: 3.407
Gear Ratios (Overall) 6th: 2.875
Exhaust: Chrome Dual Exhaust With 4-Inch Touring Mufflers And Touring Muffler Shields
Wheels, Front Type: Mirror Chrome Aggressor Custom Wheel
Wheels, Rear Type: Mirror Chrome Aggressor Custom Wheel
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 Mm, 4-Piston Fixed Front And Rear
Length: 96.7 inches
Seat Height, Laden: 26.3 inches
Seat Height, Unladen: 27.2 inches
Ground Clearance: 4.9 inches
Rake (Steering Head) (Deg): 26
Trail: 6.7 inches
Wheelbase: 64 inches
Tires, Front Specification: 130/60B19 61H
Tires, Rear Specification: 180/55B18 80H
Fuel Capacity: 6 Gallons
Oil Capacity (W/Filter): 4 Quarts
Weight, As Shipped: 836 pounds
Weight, In Running Order: 870 pounds
Luggage Capacity -Volume: 2.4 cubic feet
Infotainment
Screen:
Size: 6.5 Inches
Type: Color
Color Choices: Orange (Default), Blue, Brown, Green, Gray, Purple, Red
Day/Night Dimmer: Standard
Audio Output:
Watts Per Channel: 75
Speakers: 4
Speaker Size: 6.5 Inches
Distortion (THD): 1 percent
Internal Amp: Standard
External Amp: Standard
Wired Headset: Standard
Headset Specifications (If Equipped): 16-64 Ohms
Audio Sources:
AM: Standard
FM: Standard
Weather Band (WB): Standard
MP3 - USB Connection: Supported
SD Card - Via USB Connection: Supported
Flash Drive - Via USB Connection: Supported
Audio Setup:
CB Presets: 6
AM Presets: 6
FM Presets: 15
SiriusXM Presets: 20.0i
IPod Device Presets: 20.0
USB-Storage Device Presets: 20.0
WB Presets: 6
Media Player Device Presets: 20
Global Presets: Selectable, Up To 20 Presets
Favorites: 1 FAV Hardkey Plus 6 Favorites
Classic Mode: Selectable
Seek/Scan: Standard
Interface Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Voice Recognition:
Hands-Free Mobile Phone - Via Bluetooth: Standard
Voice Recognition Languages: Phone Functions Only: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
Other Features:
"Vehicle Information Screen (Air Temperature, Oil Pressure And Engine Temperature)": Standard
Software Update Via USB Interface:Standard
Text-To-Speech (TTS) Languages: English (US/UK), German, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), French (Canada/France), Italian, European Portuguese
USB: USB/MTP/IPod/IPhone
Bluetooth Phone/Media: Supported
Lights (As Per Country Regulation), Indicator Lamps: High Beam, Running Lights, Directional Lights, Neutral, Low Oil Pressure, Engine Diagnostics, Accessory, Speakers, Turn Signals, Security System, Gear Indication, Battery, Low Fuel Warning, Cruise Control, ABS, Miles To Empty Display, Fog/Aux Lamp Indicator
Gauges: 10% Larger Speedometer And Tachometer With 68% Wider Numbers; 28% Larger Fuel And Volt Gauges With 30% Wider Numbers; Display Features Odometer, Trip A, Trip B, Range To Empty And Gear Indicator; And Larger Tell-Tale Indicators
Colors:
2015: Starfire Black w/ Gold Dust Flames, Hardy Candy Mercury w/ Smoky Quartz Flames, Ultraviolet Blue w/ Molten Lava Flames, Carbon Crystal with Phantom Flames
2016: Black Licorice w/ Midnight Cobalt Flames, Atomic Red w/ Candy Apple Flames, White Amethyst w/ Black Licorice Flames, Carbon Crystal with Phantom Flames
Price:
2015: Custom Color Option $36,349
2016: Custom Color Option $36,799
What do you think?
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